I’ve eaten a lot of Spanish tapas in my time and I bloody love it. But never before had I really tried Greek tapas apart from the odd meze platter in my local pub. So when I visited Ergon, a new Greek restaurant just off Oxford Street I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Perhaps a few pitta breads, some taramasalata and a shot of ouzo on the side? Oh so very wrong.
Sat just behind Selfridges, Ergon has quite an industrial feel to it and offers a very modern meze menu with dishes like grilled squid with black tzatziki and fries with gruyere cheese. Classics like moussaka and gyros are on the menu but with a contemporary twist, and ouzo is served as a Rouzo cocktail mixed with lemonade and hibiscus. Nevertheless, the atmosphere inside is very homely (there’s even a lovely little deli in the basement selling products used in the cooking) and when I visited with my mum to celebrate her birthday, we were sat next to a table of Greek people in their twenties. Always a good sign I’d say.
It’s all about plate sharing at Ergon so the waitress suggested that we order about eight dishes from the menu between us washed down with a great bottle of red from the all-Greek wine menu. She insisted that we try their speciality, Gruyere from Naxos rolled in oat flakes topped with rose petals in syrup, as well as a dish of fava (yellow split pea) puree topped with cured pork. The Gruyere was absolutely delicious, the perfect mix of melted strong tangy, nutty cheese complemented by sweet syrup.
We could quite easily have eaten another portion. We weren’t quite so keen on the fava however, which seemed to be a bit lacking in taste. But that didn’t matter because the next assault of dishes more than made up for it. A lentil salad with roasted peppers and Cretan cheese was lovely and fresh and would be adequate as a lunchtime dish on its own, meanwhile pastries filled with pastrami and drizzled in tomato marmalade and yogurt were by far our favourite. Again it was the sweetness mixed with the savoury that made them really moreish.
Next up was a plate of 12-hour slow cooked lamb accompanied by a mini saucepan of cheesy orzo pasta, as well as a dish of homemade pasta with goat butter, basil, sundried tomatoes and Cretan dry white cheese.
A bit of a cliché but the lamb really did melt in your mouth, and went well with the orzo. Meanwhile the pasta was really very good. When we ordered I had been intrigued by the goat butter which is why I chose it. And I’m glad I did because it provided a lovely light sauce for the pasta along with the salty sundried tomatoes and a load of cheese on top.
(PIC: STEVEN JOYCE)
By this point we were totally stuffed as the food had all arrived in quite quick succession and there wasn’t really any break in between it all. No rest for the wicked though because after a pot of fresh mint tea our puddings arrived: a Greek yogurt mousse with honeycomb and Baklavas with dark chocolate. The Greek yogurt was really refreshing after so much food, and had dried raspberries sprinkled on the top which tasted almost meringue like. I’ve had Baklava before but these ones weren’t as stodgy or as heavy as they tend to be. The layers of pastry were very light and sprinkled with toasted pistachios, and filled with a dense and very rich chocolate mousse. Absolutely amazing.
I’d definitely return again, and it’s perfect for a quick pick me up after a strenuous shopping trip to Selfridges. But perhaps next time I’d go for six dishes over eight as we pretty much rolled home!
Ergon, 16 Picton Place, London, W1U 1BP
+44 (0) 20 7486 9210
A contemporary Greek restaurant with a menu intended for sharing.
Open daily 11am – 11pm.
Dishes range from £5 - £18.